Learn to pace…

pace1As always I had a longer title to better describe this post, it was something like this, “Learning to pace yourself, making choices and being happy with them”.  Sounds like a great title for a self-help book or a speech, don’t you think!

Today I had a lot of time to think and it really was interesting.  I went out for a run and what was gonna be 10 miles turned into 14 miles.  The weather was beautiful so I couldn’t resist staying out a little longer (my legs weren’t as happy with me but they will get over it, I’m sitting now to write this post so they can relax!)

When I turned around at mile 7 (because it was an out and back trail run so I had to get back to the car) I was on track for a pretty good pace about 8:35 – 8:40 per mile but finished with a 9:00 per mile pace.  Then it happened, it wasn’t a wall it was just a slow down.  I began to wonder if I had gone out to fast because that is what I usually do.  I am never really good at pacing myself.  I just kept telling myself today that it is all about the distance and not about the pace but did I really believe what I was telling myself.  I did begin to think, what is it going to take to learn how to pace myself and not just in the running world.  I tend to go all in on everything I do and sometimes sign up for things or commit to things without really figuring out how it will fit in my life.  Then my pace becomes all off.  I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off (nice visual right).

So I have to learn to pace myself.  I have to make some choices and I have to live with those choices which is sometimes harder because I begin to think we are in a world that expects us to keep going, be involved in everything because that is where you find value.  But guess what, it is not true.  I find more value in doing less things but being better at them.  (At least that is what I am telling myself)  How much better is it to do something really well then do a lot of things okay.  I would never be happy with that!

The good news is I have already made a choice in my daily life to let something go that I could not do to the best of my ability.  Oddly it felt pretty good.  Now I’m taking a step back to figure out where I am, what I’m doing and what I want from this time in my life as well as what will make my life richer.  (Haven’t figured everything out but I’m working on it.) pace

As far as the running is concerned, I think it comes with time.  I’ve been thinking about buying the garmin watch so I can see how my pace goes up and down and what I really need to work on.  But until that happens, I’ll do some research about working on my pace and keep running (or in finding Nemo terms, “just keep swimming!”)

Whirlwind trip to New York City

Saturday morning at 5:30 am we set out for our whirlwind trip to New York City.  Really it was a trip about visiting colleges (Hofstra and Adelphi) but we turned it into more, because if you are that close to the city, why not drop on in?!

We took a ferry to Long Island which was relaxing and then drove through beautiful wine country.  Was so wanting to stop and just spend our trip there but I am not sure my daughter would appreciate not seeing the colleges, the original destinations!

We made it to Hofstra, took the tour and spent some time exploring the bookstore because everyone needs a shirt from all the colleges they visit!  It was now time to check in to the hotel and make our way into the city.  Here are some fab pictures we took on our trip:


Notice how there are no pics of the colleges.  We really did visit, honest.  For some reason we only took our camera’s out when we were in the city.

Some of the things I noticed about myself were these:

  • I still cry when the admissions person talks about my daughter being the class of 2013 for her high school but they are looking at her as the class of 2017 !  Maybe I just had something in my eye, maybe it was the cost of these colleges, or maybe it is back to that not so distant blog post about really missing her when she goes away!
  • I am not a city person!!!!  I grew up in the midwest and love New England but those city people are harsh.  From driving to walking they were very overwhelming!  There was one point while I was driving that the train came through and I had to stop making the person behind me miss making through the red light.  He honked at me and yelled at me for the entire five minutes we waited on the train.  So apparently these people would rather me get hit by a train so they can make the light, where they would have to wait for the train too!  Not a fan of driving on Long Island.
  • Trains/Train stations are unpredictable which cause me stress!!!  Example: Made it to Penn station in time for the 12:14 am (yep that’s right been up since 5 am why not stay in nyc until 12:15am in the morning!) and there was no track assigned to the train.  What?  How does that happen?  When they finally announced the track number it was 12:16am and everyone who was waiting, which must have been about 300 people made a mad dash for the train.  That was fun! Not!!!  But we made it.
  • I love to surprise people.  When we surprised Mack with Chicago tickets (I videoed it and it is great!) I cried again!  It was so much fun to be able to do that.  PS – I still watch the video and cry!
  • The 9/11 sight still brings back memories and emotions even this many years later and it looks pretty cool at night too.

Finally, I love fun whirlwind trips but it takes a few days to really feel rested from long adventures.  I guess I might be getting old or I just need to do more of them to get use to it!!

Riding the Ferry to Long Island! It is really early!

PS – did not get any runs in while on this trip but we did walk ALOT so I think that counts as my exercise for the weekend.  Back to the gym this week.


Transition, noun

1.movement, passage, or change from one position, state,stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change:

Thank you Dictionary.com for defining where I am, in the middle of a transition.  Am I scared?  Well yes, I am human!  Am I excited?  Yep.  But still nervous.

Here’s the scoop:  When I started grad school I wanted to work in a college setting as an academic advisor and by the time I graduated I was employed full-time as a Clinician in Substance Abuse and Addiction.  Can it get any farther away from my original plan?  Not really sure.  But it has.  Now I find myself transitioning on to another point in my career.  I have given my notice at work and will be taking on an outpatient clinician role at the end of the month.  So that is where I am right now.  I have one more day at work and then a few weeks off to take a much needed break but I am still nervous.  As I have said in the past, I am my own worst client.

I’m trying to figure out why I am so nervous about this transition.  I think it has to do with the unknown.  The known is that I will have Clients (I better because if I don’t, they won’t pay me!).  Also, the known is that I will get to sleep a little later than I do right now (5:30 am comes very early) and I will get to stay up a little later with my family (bed by 9:ish because again 5:30am comes early!).  The other known is that I met some of the therapist I will be working with and they seem really nice.  Also, this job is closer to home so my commute will be only about 5 – 10 mins, instead of 25-30 mins (Yeah for saving gas too!)  These are all great things in my known category.

Now the unknown: I’ve been in inpatient for my career and now outpatient is different so I learn to adapt and hope I can do it fast.  Will they like me?  (Don’t we all have that thought going through our heads when we change jobs or meet new people.)  I hope so, I’m pretty likeable (at least that is what I like to think!).  Will I be able to do the job?  I tend to think this a lot too and it comes down to my confidence in my abilities.  (Still working on that but aren’t we all a work in progress)

So tomorrow is my last day at my current job and when I leave I take with me some wonderful experiences and some not so wonderful experiences but in the end I have grown and feel ready for this transition.  And the good news is that I have lots of phone numbers of people to call if I need a boost of confidence (isn’t it nice to have people who believe in you!).  I already feel better about making this transition!


So I sit here on the eve of a huge birthday.  Not mine (already turned the big 4-0 this year and it wasn’t too bad) but my daughter’s 18 birthday!  I’m feeling somewhat traumatized.  Not that I don’t look old enough to have an 18 year (which I don’t think I do :-)) but that my daughter is growing up.  Technically tomorrow she becomes an adult.  But fortunately for me she still has her senior year of high school so I feel like she is still a kid.

But now back to the traumatization…. I didn’t think we would ever get to this point.  Realistically I knew we had to get here but it just goes so fast.  Time really does fly.  Feels like just yesterday I was watching her dance across the living room floor, twirling so hard she would fall down and now she gets up in front of huge crowds and expresses herself through dance so elegantly bringing tears to my eyes.  She is incredibly focused in everything she does from school to dance to what I hope she is when she drives, focused!  What can I say, I’m so proud.

Why do I feel traumatized/overwhelmed by these big events?  Is it because I am starting to feel old (not really, I only feel old right now because the gym and I are having lots of dates lately and he seems to be beating me up!)?  Is it because I know that in one more year our house will be empty?  Well that might be some of it!  I love my kid and want her always to be around even though that is unrealistic and I would probably go out of my mind if she lived with me forever!  Or she would go out of her mind if she lived with ME forever!

I am thinking the real answer might be in the fact that it marks a big transition.  I remember when I turned 18 (hey stop laughing, it wasn’t that long ago that I can’t remember some of it!) I remember the thoughts of freedom that went through my head.  I was excited now because I could make my own decisions and it was a great time.  As much as I want that for my daughter, I also still want her to want her mom’s opinion on things and to ask me what I think.  I hope this doesn’t change because she has one more day under her belt that shows she is older.

How are we supposed to handle these big transition times?  Well I want to say with grace and elegance but really we are not in the 50’s where we have to hide our true emotions.  I am currently handling these moments (which there promise to be quite a few this year with it being her senior year too) with lots of tears.  Some tears of sadness because I will miss her.  But tears of joy looking back over what we have accomplished together and what she has accomplished on her own.  Also lots of pride because really in the end, I created a pretty good kid/emerging adult!  Caring, loving, and kind hearted and overall someone I am proud of.

So tonight’s blog is dedicated to this child of mine who changed my life 18 years ago and continues to be an integral part of my daily life.  I would not have it any other way!  Happy 18th Birthday Mackenzie!

And now playing…….

I once thought… what a great idea start a blog.  You talk about all of the wonderful insight you have learned over the years as well as how running has helped you coped (I always talk to myself in the third person).  But then when I sit down to start this thing they call a blog, I freeze.  I think, what the heck are you thinking.  Helping Clients face to face is one thing but trying to share insight through a computer screen is something else.

So I’m gonna give it a try.

Maybe I should take notes during my day to chat about the crazy things that happen in residential care and how I run away, far far away at night when I get home, to relieve the stress of the day.  Oh crap taking notes to write a blog sounds like a lot of work.  Maybe I will bullet point my thoughts since full note taking is not an option because imagine working in an office with at least 8 people and serving the needs to 32 residents.  As you can imagine it is crazy.

Okay, I am getting an idea of how this is gonna go already….. just rambling and hopefully catching myself so I don’t bore anyone who decides to read this.

Anyway, I am a new mental health graduate (as of May 17, 2012 – Yeah Me!) and that does not mean I earned a degree in craziness but sometimes it feels like it.  It basically means I like to help people fix their problems or at least tap into their inner strength so they realize they already have everything they need to survive.  Currently I work in the field of substance abuse treatment and co-occurring disorders like bipolar and alcohol addiction (insert visual of Sandra Bullock in 28 days except my company is funded by the department of public health so our facilities are not so posh).  But everyday I grow with my Clients.  I learn from them and their honesty and they learn from me coping skills, empathy, and how to trust and I am sure a lot more stuff too.

So why the running part of the title?  I started running midway through my schooling.  I have always liked to stay in shape but this was a new adventure for me.  I started training for a 5K and was surprised at how stress relieving it was to run.  Then I decided, “Hey self, what about a 10K?”  Thinking what the heck I jumped in.  Ran my first 10K and became hooked.  Right before I turned the big 4-0, I ran a half-marathon.  This was an awesome experience.  I cried at the end and everyone was asking if I was okay and all I could say was, “I just ran that!”  It was one of the best experiences of my life mainly because I set a goal and accomplished it.  Half marathon completed in under 2 hours.  So now I am really hooked.  I want to race/run and I want to do it faster.  I want to compete and not just complete.  But really in the end what I want is the feeling of accomplishment which I think that is what we all want.  To feel like we have accomplished something.

So now that this has run on and on (kinda like what I do on a daily basis) here are my hopes for this blog….I want to use this to help.  I want to be a demonstration of what it takes to survive, how I cope, how to face events head on, and any other therapist type things where we learn from each other.  I also want to motivate.  I spend my days motivating my clients with positive words and sometimes I lose sight of those positive thoughts for myself.  I am hoping by blogging I can learn, be motivated and help.

So here goes…..

I look forward to hearing from anyone and love to hear your stories too.

Get ready, get set, GO!!!

Shanna (like banana)